The Garden Doctors, Gwen Kilchherr and Dana Lozana, answered a reader’s question about Norway rats vs. roof rats. The Garden Doctors explained, in a Press Democrat article on June 18, 2016, that Norway rats are bigger and have burrows along building foundations, woodpiles and any piles of rubbish. They eat a wide variety of food, including pet food, the fruit from your trees and vegetables in your garden. Our many creeks offer them plenty of water, so once they get established, they are hard to eliminate.
Roof rats are smaller. They prefer fruits, nuts and berries and can be found nesting in dense ground covers such as ivy and in spaces such as attics, walls and cabinets. Early signs of roof rat damage: hollowed-out citrus fruit, girdled trees and shrubs, damage to crops and general damage in and around the home.
Roof rats are difficult to see during the day; they are most active at night. Roof rats are attracted to ivy. At the first sign of rodent problems, begin trapping. Additional strategies:
- Clean up wood piles, firewood and crates where rodents live
- Eliminate trash and garden waste
- Make sure pet food is not available to rodents
- Seal all cracks larger than 1/4 inch around building foundations
- Remove English ivy or Algerian ivy around fences, buildings or grounds
- Repair damages ventilation screens with hardware cloth or heavy-duty wire screening
- Cut back overhanging tree limbs so they do not have easy access to the room
There are many strategies with setting snap-traps, so experiment with hard baits like dried fruit, nuts, or bacon or soft baits like peanut butter. Experiment setting them along runs where the rats travel. When you are ready to call in an expert, contact us. Steve Gustafson will know how to help.